May 25, 2014
A Song for a Little Angel
Levi Nemon OBM

Composer Sarah Dukes and her sister Rochel Spangenthal made a dedication to 21-month-old Levi Nemon who passed away.

By COLlive reporter

The tragic passing of 21-month-old Levi Nemon, who fell to his death from a 6-story window in an apartment building in Crown Heights, has left a deep impact on many in the neighborhood.

Among them were two sisters, Mrs. Sarah Dukes and Ms. Rochel Spangenthal. Responding to the tragedy, one composed a piano song and the other wrote a blog entry.

A friend of theirs sent it to COLlive with their permission. "I think that they could really help the community feel and grieve and understand feelings that maybe they couldn't express," the friend wrote.

By Rochel Spangenthal

I have an exam tomorrow that determines the next year of my life. But I can't study… I can't really focus on anything. My mind keeps circling around to one thought:

You have to appreciate every little thing. Because it can all change in an instant. And you never see it coming.

Yesterday, a child in the Crown Heights community climbed out of his apartment window and fell three stories. He was rushed to the hospital.

My sister could speak of nothing else. 'I just can't believe it. I feel sick about it.'

I was stubborn in my response. Because I believe in the goodness of G-d and am frustratingly positive sometimes: 'Look, he's going to get better. He's in the hospital. The whole world is praying for him. There's no way that he's going to pass away.'

I was wrong. I was absolutely wrong. And although I believe in an all-good G-d, He makes me so angry sometimes.

Although I'm an Orthodox Jew, I'm not afraid to admit that I sometimes yell at G-d. I stomp my feet and cry and demand that He do things differently. Because this is not the way that things should be. No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child. It's unnatural. We experience not only the death of the child, but a kind of death of a part of the parent. I can imagine nothing worse.

And as time passes, fresh news articles appear above this one but my mind will not rest.

A few years ago, a Chassidic boy named Leiby Kletzky was kidnapped and murdered. I freaked out. I mentally wrestled with my beliefs in G-d and religion in general. How could I reconcile my belief in a glorious, all-powerful G-d with the fact that things like this happen in the world? And that they happen all the time?

An article on saved me:

'My G-d, each day I am surrounded by Your wonders. Each day, I see Your miracles, one after the other, Your unending goodness to me and to each of us. I will not lose faith, I will not stop praying to You. But if I will not stand up and demand, "Does the Judge of all the earth not do justice?" if I will not declare, "Why have you done evil to your people?"—then what kind of a creature am I? And in what sort of a G-d do I believe?

One day, we will understand. Until then, we must be outraged. We must recoil with horror, we must reach deep inside ourselves, we must protest to G-d Himself. For only the righteously indignant can heal this world.

That is our answer for now: That we cannot be allowed to understand. For if we would understand, we would not be outraged. And if we were not outraged, then why would we ever stand up and do all that is in our power that such horrors could never happen again? And then there would be no one to heal G-d's world.'

There is a reason why things happen. I believe that. But I also believe that G-d gets just as much pain from these things as we do. And that He is waiting for us to rebel against these tragities and evil realities.

We rebel by increased prayer. We rebel by adding more good and light to the world. We rebel by realizing afresh how much we should appreciate every moment and tell our loved ones how much they matter.

A popular reaction to tragedy within the Jewish community is ‘Oy, we need redemption! Moshiach where are you!?’

And I don’t know why this reaction bothers me. I suppose because Moshiach is not something to be thought of only in times of pain or as a band-aid for tragedy. And it makes us seem helpless. And we are not helpless. We are a force to be reckoned with. We are stubborn children who want their way. And we can get it.

If we truly believe in an ultimate redemption, then we also need to believe that we have the power to bring it about. Through prayer... through good deeds... via any route necessary.

May we all be able to rebel in the best way possible. May we be able to value every moment with our family, with our little finances, with whatever we have right now.

May the neshama of Chaim Yisroel Levi Yitzchok halevi ben Sarah Rivkah have an aliya and may his family be comforted in their loss. And may we cease to know any more suffering with the ultimate redemption.

By Sarah Dukes

A terrible tragedy just occurred in our community and a little angel was taken away from us. I have no words- the emotions are too strong for me to restrict them into words. There is so much I feel, so much to say, but when I try, nothing comes out. I am left silent.

Victor Hugo said, "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." So instead of expressing myself through words, I chose to do it through sound. I went to the piano and just let my fingers play out my emotions. This is not a perfect recording, rather it is a complete representation of raw emotion.

To Sarah Rivkah Nemon, please know we are all here with you. May you and your family be comforted in this moment of loss, and may G-d give you the strength to deal with this nightmare, one that no one should ever have to experience. And remember, you are never alone. May there be no more suffering for anyone, and may G-d show us only revealed good.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Wow. Thank you for this.
(5/25/2014 5:02:01 PM)
Tears all over again
I thought I was all cried out and now I just started bawling all over again. You can feel the pain through the song, and the writing is beautifully written. Thank you so much!
(5/25/2014 5:04:41 PM)
Fellow mom reaching out
Sarah Rivkah, I just met you and your beautiful children the other day, before this terrible, occurrence- I'm shocked to the core. May you be comforted with Hashem's presence and may you and your family never see such main ever again, really and truly.
(5/25/2014 5:58:35 PM)
A great impact on me as well
I took upon myself to completely stay away from Lashon Harah until shavuos in Levi's merit.
(5/25/2014 6:10:23 PM)
So touching
amazing.. really nice article and very moving song
add mossay???!!!
(5/25/2014 6:29:42 PM)
Thank you
Thank you , she will love it
(5/25/2014 6:41:11 PM)
thank you
thank you for the picture of this little malach' heart cries "Why did he have to return to his source so young? Moshiach will have to explain these mysteries to us..May hashem comfort the family in the meantime..
(5/25/2014 6:46:33 PM)
Hashem, we can't take anymore!!!
This song moved me beyond words.
(5/25/2014 6:49:54 PM)
Seeing his precious face and hearing this song is too much! Hashem, how much more can we take??? !
(5/25/2014 7:02:02 PM)
(5/25/2014 7:19:49 PM)
in tears
that was so touching! brought out the raw emotions.
(5/25/2014 7:55:51 PM)
What a beautiful child
Hamakom Yenachem Eschem Besoch Shaar Aveilei Tzion V'yerushalyim. Thank you for the words and the song; the family should be comforted.
(5/25/2014 8:32:46 PM)
oy. he is so cute. why???? why did this happen? this doesnt make sense.
(5/25/2014 8:35:17 PM)
moshiach now
what a beautiful beautiful baby
(5/25/2014 9:11:24 PM)
I also don't know what to do with the pain
THANK YOU! and Hashem - please no more :(
(5/25/2014 9:40:52 PM)
so sad...
reminds me of a couple yrs back when a boy named LEVI also tragically p.a. @ the tender age of 18 mths!!!! Moshiach Now!!!!!
(5/25/2014 9:52:57 PM)
so beautiful
such a beautiful child..we cant know hashems ways.. may moshaich come right now!!!
(5/25/2014 9:55:22 PM)
Great blog post
I love how u expressed exactly how I feel in your blog post. Thank u!!
And incredible music!
Moshiach now!!
(5/25/2014 10:08:44 PM)
It's more than heartbreaking
What a beautiful child!
(5/25/2014 10:18:44 PM)
Beautiful article beautiful music!!
(5/25/2014 10:20:56 PM)
Rochel and Sarah, thank you for the inspiration.
Yael, thanks for sharing.
(5/25/2014 11:20:26 PM)
so painfull
we cannot understand the ways of Hashem! Ad Mosai we need Moshiach now!!! This is just too sad i cannot stop thinking about what the mother must be going through. This is just too painfull. Moshiach NOW!!!!!!!!!
(5/25/2014 11:46:47 PM)
correct me if i'm wrong
but i don't believe you continue using an added name if the person did not recover from when the name was added.

may hashem protect us from such tragedies
(5/26/2014 1:07:27 AM)
To #4
The whole community should be inspired by you. That's the most positive thing one can do in response to what happened.
(5/26/2014 1:19:17 AM)
Gorgeous little boy, gorgeous song....may we only know good things!
(5/26/2014 7:11:07 AM)
thank you to the composers
Beautiful! thank you Sarah and Rochel for this chizuk on behalf of my entire family! -Leah Nemon
(5/26/2014 7:44:08 AM)
to #23
You are correct. the name is Yisroel Levi Yitzchok Ben Binyomin Mendel haLevi.
(5/26/2014 8:23:26 AM)
shema isroel!
girls you are amazing !may hakodosh boruch ho give koach to his parents to continue .and hashem should bench every one of us with only simchos nachas and gezunt
(5/26/2014 10:02:50 AM)
Thank you for sharing the pic and the music. We never met, little one, but we are bound by greater things. You are loved for ever.
(5/27/2014 3:31:15 AM)
I am so touched ,what a beautiful Chizuk,and song,
too many Tzores
keep on giving us chizuk we need it!!
(5/27/2014 6:19:44 AM)
hashem help
(5/27/2014 7:54:45 PM)
how much longer....??!!..
It's impossible to remain passive in any shape or form to the recent tragedy(ies) that have occured amongst us. We must be allowed to yell out loud "Hashem, Ad Mosai, how much longer must we suffer in this dark and dreary Golus?." I am under the impression that the Rebbe said to use "Chutzpah" and to DEMAND that Hashem bring us the Geulah Immediately! We are with you, holy parents,and so is Hashem. Worry no more! Moshiach will be here in the blink of an eye
(5/27/2014 11:26:41 PM)
you should be comforted
hamokom yenachem eschem mitoch shar avlei tzion beyerushalaim. so sorry for the terrible lose. the pain must be so strong.
(5/27/2014 11:44:57 PM)
I'm so sorry for the loss
A very well written article, touches one to the core. Puts all that's in our minds in words. It hurts too much for me to write. My sympathies to the family of this beautiful child, a gift from hashem. May hashem comfort the family amongst the mourners of Tzion and yerushalayim.
A very haunting melody accompanied the picture... Makes it so painfully tragic.
(5/29/2014 11:04:24 PM)
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